Gala Fairydean Rovers 1

Edinburgh University 1

By David Knox

at Netherdale

SATURDAY will be remembered for being one of the most horrendous days for football in recent seasons.

Persistent sleet and freezing rain throughout the 90 minutes made it grim for every player on the park.

The sub-zero winds made it equally uncomfortable for the handful of spectators who braved the conditions.

But a blistering start by Gala looked like it was going to raise the temperature somewhat – only for the intensity and the early lead to melt away as the match wore on.

Manager Dean Shanks admitted he was disappointed with his team’s second-half performance. He said: “We started really well and could have been four or five up before 20 minutes.

“I was saying to the boys on the bench this is what we’re wanting and if we keep it up we’ll get a good win out there.

“Losing that silly goal before half time didn’t help but there can be no excuse for the way we fell out the game in the second half.

“Yes, the conditions were poor but they were poor for both teams.”

Only some fine saves from Uni keeper Mark Tait prevented Gala taking the lead before the breakthrough was made in the eighth minute.

Sandy Cunningham raced onto Sean McKirdy’s pass and his delicate dink over the out-rushing Tait was blasted into the net from close range by the prowling Ruari Paton.

Gala’s encouraging start continued with high pressing and some slick passing.

McKirdy was denied by another good save and the former Hearts and Hamilton midfielder also drilled a shot agonisingly wide of the far post.

In the 40th minute a powerful Cunningham shot from the angle was brilliantly pushed onto the post by King.

But the home team were made to rue the missed chances on the stroke of half time as, with Uni’s first genuine attack of the half, Stuart McNichols converted a tremendous low cross into the net from close range.

A further inspection by referee Craig Wilson during the interval had cast doubt over the game resuming, but it was decided to play on.

While Gala had closed down high up the pitch in the first half it was the turn of the Uni to do the pressing in the second half.

And this new-found appetite from the students was turned into chances.

Finn Daniels-Yeoman rifled a shot inches wide of the target and moments later Patrick Martin did really well to save at the feet of Abdul Yusuf.

Gala almost went back in front just before the 70th minute as Tommy Patterson’s goal-bound effort deflected against Cunningham and went over the bar.

And with only six minutes remaining McKirdy’s screamer from 25 yards was magnificently tipped over the bar by King.

But there was a let-off for the hosts at the other end as another terrific low cross was slid inches wide of the back post by the unmarked David Smith.

In the end a draw was perhaps a fair result, but after Gala’s early domination it felt like two points dropped for the frozen Fairydean Rovers faithful.

Gala Fairydean Rovers. P Martin, R Stevenson, R Donaldson, K Ainslie, R Miller, K Watson (K Mitchell 77), S Cunningham, S McKirdy, R Paton, C O’Reilly & T Patterson.